Bristol’s former shipbuilding yard, Wapping Wharf, is better known as a creative part of the city full of independent businesses these days. Spending summer days down by the harbour is a weekend ritual for most Bristolians. From cultural sites to shipping container restaurants, wine bars and bookshops, there are so many wonderful things to do at Wapping Wharf.
1. Wander around the M Shed Museum
See amazing films and photographs, listen to moving personal stories, encounter rare and quirky objects and add your own memories of Bristol through the interactive displays at the M Shed Museum. From prehistoric times to the present day, M Shed tells the story of the city and its unique place in the world. Plus, it’s free to visit!
2. Enjoy a refreshing pint of craft brew
Grab a pint and some delicious food at Junction from the Bristol Beer Company. The bar boasts a wide range of draft beers as well as many bottles and cans. Championing fellow independent producers through food suppliers, guest Bristol beers, and other locally produced drinks (as well as having its own amazing selection on tap), Junction is the perfect place to enjoy a drink with a clear view of the harbour.
If you fancy some takeaway beers, however, we recommend hitting up Beer Necessities.
The independent craft beer bottle shop offers a balance of firm favourites in the fridges to a wall of eclectic brews. There’s often a choice of beers in tap too to takeaway.
3. Practice your downward dog at this yoga studio
Elevate is a yoga studio and creative space located in one of the Cargo 2 converted shipping containers. The studio offers yoga, meditation, sound healing, 1:1 sessions, wellness workshops, Ayurvedic Yoga Massage, spoken word and art events from a range of fantastic facilitators, teachers and practitioners. Plus, the space is decorated with pops of colour and geometric shapes which makes the opportunity to flow and relax even more exciting.
4. Get your caffeine fix at these coffee shops
Need a little pick-me-up? Head to Mokoko Coffee & Bakery for heavenly bakes such as cinnamon swirls, hazelnut pain au chocolat and white chocolate and strawberry Danishes, as well as speciality coffee. Mokoko has their own freshly ground coffee that you also enjoy at home as well as their own homemade chai blend. You can also head to Little Victories, which is an espresso bar by day and a bar serving craft beer, coffee cocktails and wine by night.
5. Get a proper eyeful of culture
Wapping Wharf is bookended by two cutting-edge art galleries that showcase some brilliant artwork by very talented creatives. Located between the harbourside and Prince Street you’ll find Arnolfini, Bristol’s International Centre for Contemporary Art. Since 1961, Arnolfini has been a pioneer of interdisciplinary contemporary arts, presenting an ambitious, eclectic programme of visual art, performance, dance, film and music, carefully curated to appeal to a range of audiences. There is also Spike Island, which showcases lots of new and exciting art, and is home to a community of over 70 artists, designers, makers, artist-led organisations and creative businesses, right by the harbourside.
6. Sip on a splendid wine selection
One of Bristol’s leading independent wine, spirit and beer shops, Corks, has branches at Cargo at Wapping Wharf, Cotham Hill and Bedminster’s North Street. At their Cargo branch, Bristolians can have a wander by the harbour and then grab their tipple of choice to go.
If you would rather have a sit-down glass of vino, however, look no further than the wine bar Picole. The sister site of the Wapping Wharf restaurant Tare (also worth checking out), Picole provides a sparkling and diverse range of natural, low-intervention wines. Hitting all the right notes, there’s also a selection of small plates, sharing boards and snacks on offer if you want something to nibble.
7. Devour a drool-worthy burger
At Wapping Wharf you can take your pick from some of Bristol’s finest and independent burger purveyors. Referred to as the Home of The Hog, Pigsty, serves up banging burgers and sensational sides and snacks all day. Choose from a range of generously filled burgers such as the Whole Hog, filled with slow roasted pork belly surrounded by crackling served with cider apple sauce, slaw, baconnaise, served in a toasted milk bun. Pigsty offer more porky delights containing sausages and pulled pork, as well as Scotch eggs with unbelievable yolks inside.
Also check out National Burger Awards winner, Squeezed, where you can enjoy a double or single burger alongside fries and freshly squeezed lemonade. One burger even includes Worcestershire aioli! Plus, hot dog lovers can head to Dog Town, a collab between Wapping Wharf residents, Squeezed and Beer Necessities.
8. Buy some vintage garms
If you’re in need of some new glad rags, Something Elsie Vintage is the place. With all the colourful clothes beautifully arranged in this converted shipping container down at Cargo, you’ll most likely leave with something. Plus, the clothes here are sustainable and affordable- so why not? You can also find this vintage shop with glitzy and glam retro items of clothing at North Street too.
9. Tuck into a range of tasty cuisines at Cargo
At Cargo 1 and 2 down at Wapping Wharf are home to some of Bristol’s best restaurants. There is so much choice here, that will definitely have to return again to sample some more. Including Asian dishes from Seven Lucky Gods, Greek street food at The Athenian, Mexican food by Cargo Cantina, Spanish food by Gambas, fresh pasta at Magari and modern, veg-led eatery Root. Plus, in true harbourside style, you can enjoy proper fish and chips from Salt & Malt.
10. Unwind with a massage at Loop
After all that eating, drinking and shopping, you’re bound to be knackered. Book an appointment for a massage at Loop and they’ll get all those niggly knots out that have emerged after all those months (or years) sitting at your desk working from home. They also offer sports massages. Loop is a great place if you want to switch off and escape all the goings on for a moment. It’s not exactly a holiday abroad but you should feel a bit more relieved and relaxed afterwards.
11. Cool down with authentic Italian gelato
It’s widely knows that the best (and most fun) wat to cool down in the sunshine is with a big scoop of creamy gelato. Authentic gelato bar Swoon, which also has a location on Park Street, still uses traditional methods to slowly churn the gelato. Plus offers a range of different varieties and flavours, including Madagascan vanilla, pistachio, chocolate brownie, hazelnut, bacio, Amarena cherry cheesecake and salted caramel. Vegans can also get their hands on sorbets like dark chocolate and raspberry.
12. Stock up your fridge with cheese
Hidden away in Wapping Wharf, The Bristol Cheesemonger celebrates the best of British cheeses. The cheese shop puts all the effort into researching and locating delicious, artisan cheeses from Britain – with a major focus on the South West – so you don’t have to. They even run a monthly cheese subscription service for £35 a month, curated with South West seasonal favourites. Eat your heart out Netflix.
13. Lose yourself in a good read at bookhaus
For all the literature lovers out there this independent bookshop sells a range of genres, with a strong focus on modern fiction, the environment, history, politics, children’s and more. bookhaus reflects Bristol’s tradition as a centre of radicalism and when opening bookhaus, David Olusaga said “This is Our Bookshop, in Our City.” At bookhaus on Rope Walk you can easily get lost in their shelves whilst you scour for a must-read, plus you never know you may find a author or genre from the experience.
14. Get a slice of the action at Pizzarova
Possibly one of the top pizza purveyors in Bristol, Pizzarova brings customers some mighty fine pizzas. From anchovy, olives and capers to goats cheese, caramelised onions and sundried tomatoes, these woodfired sourdough pizzas with gorgeously puffed up crusts will leave you incredibly satisfied and planning your next visit. Plus, look out for Pizzarova’s exciting seasonal specials and plant-based options.
15. Soak up the sunshine with a cider
If there’s one thing Bristolians lover more than drum ‘n’ bass and sunshine, its cider. There are some amazing specialist cider pubs around Bristol, but this bottle shop should keep you satisfied at Wapping Wharf The Cider Box has fridges, shelves and draught lines full of award winning, independent craft cider, from international selections to regional favourites. Enjoy cider slushies in the summer, but don’t miss out on mulled cider in the colder months.